Clement Greenberg: An Appreciation
The art critic Clement Greenberg died this past May at the age of eighty-five. Although he had written little for more than two decades, Greenberg remained a contentious and widely discussed, almost a legendary, figure in the art world and the world of academic art criticism.
Even in death Greenberg managed to stir controversy. The obituary of him in the New York Times, for example, was a model of ignorance and stupidity. Not only did the author garble the name of the artist Theodoras Stamos, and not only did he confuse Partisan Review—the distinguished highbrow magazine for which Greenberg wrote some of his most important essays—with the Paris Review (a feat more or less equivalent to confusing COMMENTARY with Commonweal); but he also produced a grotesque caricature of Greenberg’s ideas, according to which Greenberg was supposed to have thought that art criticism should equal art as a creative endeavor.
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